Travel Planners Set Sail with Trends in Cruising for 2017

BY Courtney Huckabay
Featured image for “Travel Planners Set Sail with Trends in Cruising for 2017”

Cruise Lines International Association has released the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, which details a steady pace of cruise travel interest and significant investment in the industry. CLIA also predicts the top eight cruise travel trends that will have an impact on the industry in the coming year.

For starters, increase in cruise travel is expected to continue throughout 2017, with an estimated 25.3 million passengers expected to sail in 2017, a strong surge from 15.8 million just 10 years prior (2007). More ships will set sail in 2017 as well, as CLIA reports that cruise lines are scheduled to debut 26 new ocean, river, and specialty ships in 2017.

This is good news for travel agents and cruise-​booking companies! The latest AudienceSCAN survey found 13.3% of Americans plan to take cruises this year!

As part of the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, CLIA has forecasted the top eight cruise travel trends that will have the most impact on the cruise industry this year.

Use the following trends to get in the door with advertisers or use them in campaigns targeting Cruise Vacationers! The latest AudienceSCAN study revealed 60% of Cruise Vacationers took action based on daily deals they saw in the past year!

  1. New Generation Takes to the Water – A recent study found that younger generations — including Millennials and Generation X — will embrace cruise travel more than ever before, rating it as better than land-​based vacations, all-​inclusive resorts, tours, vacation house rentals, or camping.
  2. Travel Agent Use Increases – According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, consumer use of a travel agent increased nearly 80 percent from 2015 to 2016. Supporting this, CLIA is forecasting that travel agents will continue to be the matchmakers between travelers and cruise lines in 2017. Today, there are more than 25,000 CLIA-​member travel agents globally compared to 12,000 in 2010. CLIA also found that cruisers report high levels of satisfaction with their travel experience when assisted by an agent.
  3. River Cruise Demand Increases – River cruises offer travelers a unique and intimate travel experience. Due to demand, CLIA cruise line members currently deploy 184 river cruise ships with 13 new river cruise ships on order for 2017, an increase of about 7 percent.
  4. More Private Islands on Cruise Itineraries – As more cruise lines introduce private island destinations, travelers are responding and booking these itineraries. In 2017, cruise lines offer ports on a total of seven private islands.
  5. New Cruisers Will Take to the Sea – Interest in ocean cruising is projected to remain strong in 2017. When asked what kind of vacations might be of interest in the next three years nearly half (48 percent) of non-​cruisers expressed interest in taking an ocean cruise while a striking 85 percent of cruisers also expressed interest.
  6. Drivable Port Locations in Favor – The cruise industry offers a variety of small and large market port location options across the United States and internationally. Citing the advantages of a myriad of locations seven out of 10 (69 percent) non-​cruisers believe the greatest benefit is cost savings and three quarters (74 percent) of cruisers like the convenience of driving to a cruise ship.
  7. Lure of Celeb Chefs – Cruise travelers are embracing specialty dining and will continue to consider cruise dining experiences based on celebrity chefs.
  8. Demand for Expedition Cruises – According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel is growing at a record pace and CLIA is reporting that cruise expeditions are seeing the impact. In fact, itineraries for Antarctica regularly sell out.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.